West Virginia population density map.
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So, I was born in Maryland and consider the Eastern Shore of Maryland my true home.  However, for the last fifteen years I have lived in West Virginia-  the Mountain State.  My husband was born and raised here, my children were born and are being raised here.

And I happen to love it here!

Imagine my dismay when I discovered this piece of journalism trash posted on the website of a DC television station’s website (that I used to watch, USED to watch)

Here is the full text of the offensive article:

Now the news that West Virginia has put a whole bunch of its important vital records on the Internet certainly raises the possibility of all kinds of cheap shots at our yokel neighbors to the West.

But that’d be completely unfair, a gross stereotype about our neighbors’ tar-paper shacks, which probably don’t even have enough electricity to power a Commodore anyway.

But if they did have one, they’d be able to log on to the new Web site and do all kinds of research, says the Herald-Mail. Here, for example, is a listing of all the birth certificates for people named Cletus. Here’s a listing of all the Twittys who’ve died in the state. And here’s a listing of all the weddings in the state where both the bride and the groom had the last name “Smith.”

Isn’t it enough that they have to poop in their backyard, running through the cold, fearing that the trap door on their red flannel pajamas should pop open early, exposing their nether regions to the bite of the winds? Why do we have to make fun of them for their misfortune?

So we won’t.

The site has all the data they have that’s legally shareable. Birth certificates can’t be shared for 100 years; death certificates are on ice for 50. Records from the Civil War aren’t available, as well as a few gaps where fire or flood took out a courthouse or two.

But if you’ve ever wondered what Hank Williams’ death registry looks like (you can put your hand down), now you can die happy. (And have someone from WV look at it 50 years later, once the Internet finally comes to the state.)

Copyright NBC Local Media First Published: Dec 18, 2009 8:50 AM EST

While I am aware there are people in this state living in extreme poverty (as there are in many states) the insinuation that to live in West Virginia means that you are an uneducated “yokel” infuriates me.

Why am I sharing this with you, my dear readers?  Not just for the sake of venting about something that has me very upset but because I know that  many of you live in the MD/DC/VA/WV area.

If this is the case I am asking you to join me in asking for a public apology by the station and the “reporter” who wrote the original piece.  You can do that by clicking here.

Now, I am going to drink a cup of coffee and enjoy the beautiful view of snow covered mountains from my front porch.

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  1. I am really surprised! Usually articles are checked by an editor before posting, but apparently that was not the case! I would think in our litigious society that someone would not so brazenly stereotype an entire state’s population. I’m irritated by it, and I don’t even live there! Enjoy your state’s beautiful snowy mountains, it’s obvious the author was/is an idiot.

  2. I have poop in my backyard and I drop my kids off to school in my pajamas. And I live in MD. I did it when I lived in DC, MO and TN, too. Pfft.

    And West Virgina? Is beautiful.

  3. Done! Totally complained. My brother and his wife live in West Virginia. Ridiculous!! (I can’t believe that a news station wrote that, BTW.)

  4. This is incredibly disgusting. Just once I would like a journalist to report facts instead of using the skills they learned in their one creative writing course to indulge their own egotistical need to get the cheap laugh.

    Whatever happened to reporters who researched information or discovered moving human interest stories and shared them in a compelling and factual way?

    This is really just beyond disgusting. I’d love for you to tell us the name of the reporter as well as the station. I’ve been disgusted with the “traditional media” for some time now and recently railed against them myself here: http://resourcefulmommy.blogspot.com/2009/12/open-letter-to-tradtional-media.html

    Maybe if enough of us are as publicly outraged as we are when sitting in front of our computers and televisions there will be changes made?

  5. WTF?@! So what we here in the Wild Wild West of Arizona drop our kids off at school in flips flops AND pajama’s and believe me when I say that my yard is filled with TONS of shit…dog shit, squirrel shit, and my kids’ shit (aka their toys!). Eff em! Good for you mama…what a crock!

  6. I have family in Scott’s Depot & Hurricane. Many memories of West Virginia. I hope you get your apology!


  7. OMGOSH!!!!! That is horrible. Signing along side with you my friend

  8. My only hope that this article was the reporter’s feeble attempt at sarcasm.

    I have lived in MD, WV, and VA, and my years in WV were my fondest. Poverty and poop can be found in any state if you look hard enough.

    I have to laugh since this is from a DC news reporter. While DC has some beautiful areas, poverty, crime, and the ignorance factor (I’m thinking Capitol Hill 😉 are significantly greater in DC than the areas of WV I have visited.

    This is why traditional media outlets are getting creamed by the new news. No one wants to read or listen to their bigoted drivel any more.

  9. Completely uncalled for and an unacceptable article…note…or whatever you want to call it. The media seems to never get a story right and is more about hype than anything. What does that teach our kids? That stereotyping is okay? I don’t think so! Putting a blank label on a whole state or anyone fro that matter, is uncalled for.

  10. Ridiculous! If that were aimed at any other group of people they would be run out of the news room immediately and fired. Sadly, it just continues the downward spiral of mainstream media trying for the sensational, instead of being a trusted source.

  11. Wow. Just wow.

    Now just imagine if something like that had been written about an ethnic group instead. They never would have published it. I guess bigotry is OK as long as it’s directed towards a group of people that the elite media views as insignificant.

  12. That article is supposed to be journalism? This is horribly narrow-minded and I can not believe that any editor would let something like this be published.

  13. Good grief, that was rather blunt of them, wasn’t it? Certainly shows a lack of tact and writing ability. 🙁

  14. This is appauling!! My family moved here to Wild and Wonderful West Virginia 5 1/2 years ago from the Northern VA area to get out to the rat race and everyone that tries to “keep up with the Jones”. I love the slower pace of the country life and most people here are alot more friendly than anywhere else I have been. I wake up every day on my 45+ acres and see mountain views and have peace and quiet. And yes I have poop in my yard too; 3 dogs, 3 cats and 4 goats poop alot! But here I sit at my desk while homeschooling my children commenting on this post via the internet. Moving to WV was the best thing I have done for myself and my children; so much so that my mother now also moved to WV (even in the same neighborhood/just up the road). I believe this is the best place to raise my kids giving them a down-to-earth, wholesome lifestyle and education.

  15. THIS!!! Passes for journalism?! Well maybe if the author writes for TMZ or a media outlet of that high stature. I grew up, for at least part of my life, in a hippie commune type town. Mom hunted rabbits with a bow and arrow, her degree in Political Science tucked away at home. We had pigs and chickens in our back yard and my best friend was the horse I used to drive cattle in the winter. So um am I in the yokel fraternity now or does going to college, serving my country and being an intelligence analyst preclude me from being able to enter?

  16. Awful. Unprofessional. How did that get by the station’s editors? Talk about continuing a stereotype. I complained, too. I don’t watch network news anymore — now I know why.

  17. Honestly,

    There are more people than you think that honestly believe that we are a bunch of uneducated yokels. This article was probably laughed at by an editor and published immediately.

    Great post, by the way and thanks for stopping by my blog!

  18. WOW! I’m in shock! I can’t believe they wrote that and published it. You should be outraged. I know I am! I dont’ live in WV, but a lot of my husband’s relatives do and yes, some of them live in poverty too, but that doesn’t make them deserving of this.

    Just sick!!!

  19. Wow! Talk about poor taste…this article lacks civility and respect for West Virginians. As an editor, I understand the need to use ‘creative license’ once in a while, but to outright insult and degrade someone based on a stereotype is ridiculous! I have worked with children and families who have lived in poverty and I can tell you that most of them probably have more integrity and resilience than the person who wrote this piece. Enough said.

  20. Absolutely unacceptable “journalism”. I live just a hop, skip and a jump from WV. My husband works there as well.
    I’m searching for the words to communicate the level of disgust, but I just can’t. This shouldn’t have ever printed. When did it become okay to make fun of other people? I agree with Mommy Daze, had this been another group, it would have been pulled, and the writer reprimanded. I hope an apology comes soon.

  21. We get that kind of narrow-minded stereo type here in the south, too. I live in GA (and love it), but was born and raised in CA. Contrary to popular belief, country is not the equivalent of stupid. Neither is poverty.

    This kind of journalism infuriates me. I won’t sign the petition asking for an apology since I don’t live around that area…but it’s not right and y’all do deserve an apology!

  22. Yep thats me…the lil ole illiteratwe gr granny who just happens to know how to peck out words on a computer! And Yep my name is BobbiSue… isn’t that a real rebel name for ya? Born and raised in this beautiful state for all but 9 yrs when hubby and I “visited” FL. Couldn’t wait to return home….and home it is…. Am I disgusted with this type journalism…aka trash? Yes, most definitelly…. Am I upset? Nah….. I haven’t lived this long to let something like this up set me…. Now start your mouth about my kids or my Mama or Daddy….. maybe ya better watch out. I may be old but still have a dang good backhand! God bless America and God bless wild & wonderful West Virginia…in spoite of all the outhouses up in the hollers…..*BobbiSue


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Melissa Smallwood, Melissa Smallwood. Melissa Smallwood said: Here is my take on the ridiculous article by a "news" outlet about my state http://bit.ly/7SvTNO […]

  2. Social comments and analytics for this post…

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  4. […] The mainstream media’s behavior has been both appalling and depressing to me this year.  Case in point- click here […]

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